Hospitals in Marion County have begun limiting visitation after a surge in flu cases hit area emergency rooms.
Community Health Network, Franciscan Health Indianapolis, Ascension St. Vincent, Indiana University Health and Eskenazi Health are implementing the temporary restrictions at the request of the Marion County Public Health Department, the department announced Monday morning.
According to the health department, the rate of influenza-like illness, or ILI, reported in patients at Marion County emergency departments was the highest in 10 years during the week of Nov. 20-26. ILI is defined as a temperature of 100 F or greater with a cough and/or sore throat.
With some exceptions, the restrictions include:
- no visitors with symptoms of influenza;
- no visitors under the age of 18;
- visitors limited to two immediate family members as identified by the patient;
- the wearing of masks by hospital visitors.
The health department said visitors should check with a hospital’s website or call the facility in advance to learn more about specific restrictions or any exceptions. Special arrangements can be made with each facility to allow additional visitors or younger visitors based on circumstances, such as end-of-life situations.
“Flu is hitting Marion County hard right now and much earlier than it has in recent years,” said Dr. Virginia Caine, the health department’s director and chief medical officer, in written remarks. “Along with recommending the flu vaccine and encouraging frequent handwashing, these restrictions are part of a multi-faceted effort to help protect the most vulnerable patients in our community from the flu virus, which can cause significant illness and, in certain cases, lead to extended hospitalization or death.”